Even after the State Government issued an order making uniforms mandatory for colleges in the backdrop of growing hijab-saffron shawl row in Karnataka, a few students of Basaveshwara Degree College in Lingsugur, Raichur district went to the college wearing saffron shawls on February 7.
They were managed to enter the college premises, but were barred from entering classrooms. They later took photos outside the college and shared them on social media.
The principal of the college, however, said that the saffron-clad youth were not students of his college.
In Kalaburagi, activists of Sri Ram Sene staged demonstration outside the district administrative complex demanding enforcement of the order making uniforms mandatory in colleges. Led by Siddalinga Swamy of Karuneshwar mutt at Andola, the activists raised slogans and asked the administration of colleges to deny entry to hijab-clad students.
In Raichur, girls, most wearing burkha or hijab, staged a protest at Tipu Sultan Garden near the Deputy Commissioner’s office asserting their right to wear a hijab. They raised slogans and waved placards that read ‘Hijab is our culture – Hijab is our right’, and condemned college authorities that denied entry to hijab-clad girls.
“Hijab is not an issue. The quality of education offered and the infrastructure are the real issues. Instead of addressing these crucial issues, some vested interests are making hijab an issue. Wearing or not wearing hijab or saffron shawl is left to the individuals, and others cannot impose what one should or should not wear. If somebody comes to college wearing saffron shawls, we don’t have any objection as we respect his or her right of choice,” a student said.
The students submitted a memorandum, addressed to Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, to the office of the Deputy Commissioner.
The government order that made uniforms mandatory in colleges did not take effect in most institutions in the district. Hijab-clad girls attended classes as usual. Principals in some of the colleges said that they had not received the order or clear directions from higher authorities.